A bunch of happy app news for Windows Phone owners this week. But enough about what I’m reading—what’s on your mind?
Bing adds hundreds of new venue maps
How many times have you walked aimlessly around an indoor mall looking for Banana Republic or another favorite store? One of the handy but lesser-known features of Windows Phone 7.5 is venue maps, which shows what’s under the roofs of hundreds of malls and shopping centers across the U.S. and U.K.
If you caught the Bing Maps blog yesterday, you know that with Nokia’s help, Bing was just able to add a huge cache of venues around the world to its map repository—including more than 1,350 U.S. malls and 190 U.K. shopping centers that now show up on Windows Phone 7.5. To see a venue, open the Maps app, tap the Search button, and enter its name (sometimes adding a city helps, too). If the mall or shopping center has a map associated with it, you’ll see it in purple. Just tap to see something like this:
Official Twitter app is updated…again!
The code elves behind the official Twitter app for Windows Phone have certainly been busy. Just weeks after the last Twitter refresh, a new one started rolling out early today. The big highlight of the new version 1.5? Notifications for things like new mentions, retweets, and more.
Download the app
App roundup: Marketplace’s top platformer games
The WPCentral staff took one for the team yet again this week, spending untold hours playing top platformer games in Marketplace to identify the best of the best (in their opinion, at least). Among the final selections are games featuring “a rolling ball, a running dude, ninjas without legs, and temples of death.“ How can you resist taking a peek? Read the article
Best Xbox games for a summer roadtrip
Speaking of games, Xbox this week started touting its own recommended list of Windows Phone games to pack for a summer road trip. The good news for me? I’ve already got most of them. Check out their picks
I'd been using a Nokia Lumia 900 over AT&T's network this past week to prospect on whether the future would include Windows Phone 8 for me. From my usage, which is ridiculously data heavy, I find that Windows Phone just doesn't keep up with the rest of the world. Microsoft meant it that when you get a Windows Phone, you'll rarely need to touch it. That's because you'll be touching a different device to actually get things done, which is very un-Microsoft Windows-like. I find I am having the same sentiment with Windows 8 on the desktop Preview Release. There are just too many swipes to get things done that a more precise keyboard+mouse combination would solve (and has already been proven most efficient for the past 20 years!). But when it comes to Windows Phone, I found something even more damaging that I suspected all along from when I first tested an HTC Arrive on Sprint in May 2011. Windows Phone is either artificially throttling data within the operating system or it just plain sucks at transmitting it so much as the connected data network allows. Using the TestMyNet application, I'm finding that over cellular, data throughput is down by at least half over HSPA+ in comparison to what I get using an iPhone 4 on Verizon (no LTE AT&T in my area yet). But the issue gets even worse over WiFi, where data throughput is only 10% of what I get normally using my iPhone. My normal downlink over my iPhone using my home WiFi is usually 15-20 Mbps. I can barely stream Netflix over WiFi. I took the Lumia back today with this very complaint to the AT&T corporate kiosk at a mall where I got it. There were three people working there. The CSR who served me acknowledged this under-publicized phenomenon and each of the other CSRs heard and nodded in agreement and that they've all been using Lumias (as demanded by AT&T) and noticed the data throughput shorting them as well. I let them know it is an absolute kick in the nuts to people who can tell the difference and depend on strong data performance where network conditions allow and that I was sticking with Verizon for them not letting me know about this KNOWN problem before buying. It only took me three days from purchase to pissed off. Great job Nokia, Microsoft, and AT&T. iOS just became my defacto platform with Mac OS X being a heavy contender for my next desktop/laptop purchase, especially the direction that you guys are taking Windows 8.
The mall maps are a great idea. Now I don't have to do 50 laps around the mall looking for the bar while I pick up my gf haha. http://guymanningham.com
This is exactly what's wrong with indoor maps. I agree that its like a two step process.
The venue map feature is really awesome, thanks!
Only problem is that you have to SEARCH for a venue for the map to come out... what if I am already inside? Why does it not show the map of the venue automatically, when I open the Maps app?
And don't hold your breath with WP8, If you want a smartphone go for the other platforms(even blackberrys are way better in Canada than WP) when it comes to features, functions and practicality.
Windows phone is definitely not meant for Canada, after being a Windows phone owner in Canada since 2010 until 3weeks ago,i can't help but advice any Canadian resident to not buy a windows phone.i waited for almost 2years and numerous exchange, my 2 indows phones were dumb phones and beta phones compared to the same priced competition phones.
Thanks for letting us know and saving me the time of trying to get this to work in Toronto before giving up in frustration.
I guess it was stupid of me, as a Canadian, to think that I would ever see this feature functioning here. I still can't even click a phone number and have it dial out so why would I be dumb enough to expect slightly less trivial features show up for Canadian users.
@garymoncrieff- Please feel free to send updates to email@example.com Thanks!
@arrow22- Thanks for teh feedback. We will look into Eaton Centre. Bing venue maps on Windows Phone are only available in US and UK at this point.
I feel that more WP8 features will be revealed this week.
I like the mall maps feature although I guess we could download a PDF of the mall map from the mall website. I agree that there should be a higher zoom for the mall maps. How does the data get updated though. I think some of our mall info is outdated and some malls are not even available.
Is there a way to send updated info to the maps team? my local mall has had a lot of changes recently due to recession and it's not up to date.
My local mall i in there - now I just wait for the inevitable... being dragged to the mall by my wife and / or daughters! :)
Hmmmm... I tried it out on Bing Maps in Google Chrome for the Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto and it worked! (though I saw some serious rendering issues on Chrome). However, can't get it to show up in Maps on the phone, either by searching or zooming in (and searching is still terrible... urgh, why is Google maps so much better at this?). Also odd that other major malls here don't have this feature, like the Eaton Centre.
Great concept, but so far in Toronto, doesn't work at all. ...Sadly, I feel like everything the Maps team puts out features terrible implementation and problems, at least in Canada. Hope to see some improvements soon.
Greg addition to Bing maps. Keep it coming!!!
Hi Frank H-- Happy to hear you like the feature. You ask a very good question--that I have no idea how to answer! I'll take your suggestion back to the map team. Have a great weekend.
hi, I like the shopping center map feature. However, some of the text is way too small even at the highest zoom level for phone. for some shops I need to tap the shape to see what it is. would it be possible to enable higher zoom just for shopping center map ? thanks!